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Nick Clegg to defend Lords reform plan before peers and MPs

Category: Politics

Published: 27th Feb 2012 15:45:00

Nick Clegg is to defend government plans for an elected House of Lords when he is questioned later by MPs and peers scrutinising the proposals.

The coalition wants to hold the first elections for the Lords in 2015, moving in stages to an 80% elected assembly.

Ministers say change is overdue and will give Parliament more legitimacy.

All three of the largest parties support reform but many peers, most of whom are appointed, and some MPs argue the government's approach is flawed.

The deputy prime minister will give evidence to a special committee of peers and MPs set up last year to study the government's proposals and recommend changes.

Mark Harper, the Conservative Cabinet Office minister who works with Mr Clegg on constitutional issues, will also answer questions.

Mr Clegg has said he is determined to win any fight with the Lords over its future make-up, saying Parliament must be become more accountable to the people.

Draft proposals published last year would see the chamber reduced in size to about 300 members from more than 800 at the moment. Its members would be elected for single 15-year terms under a system of proportional representation, starting in 2015.

Under the plans, about 20% of members would continue to be appointed for their specific expertise while some bishops would remain in the legislature, although fewer than now.

Critics say a largely elected Lords would threaten the supremacy of the Commons and any change must be preceded by a review of the relationship between the two chambers and their respective roles and powers.

The BBC's political editor Nick Robinson said the two ministers would seek to explain why change was necessary rather than a distraction at a time when the economy is the overriding focus of the coalition's legislative agenda.

He added that Mr Clegg and Mr Harper were also likely to point out that, without reform, there could be more than 1,000 members of the Lords within ten years and the cost of the chamber could increase considerably.

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BBC News, 2012. Nick Clegg to defend Lords reform plan before peers and MPs [Online] (Updated 27th Feb 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1409075/Nick-Clegg-to-defend-Lords-reform-plan-before-peers-and-MPs [Accessed 1st Sep 2014]

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